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Local children at Salters 2008
Local children at Salters 2008
Local children at Salters 2008

Press Release - 20 May 2008

Local school children help save Dr Who

Last week 140 school children aged 11 to 13 from schools in the West of England attended one of two ‘festivals of chemistry’ days at the University of Bath.

Teams of children attended the day-long Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry run by Dr Simon Lewis and Dr Matt Jones in the University’s Department of Chemistry.

To begin with the children competed in a practical activity called: The Mystery at Salty Towers in which they used analytical chemistry and problem solving skills to identify a robber in an exercise of forensic science.

They went onto save Dr Who, as his ‘tardis’ had broken down and he needed their scientific help to repair it before the Cyber men captured him! Luckily several teams were able to come up with the winning chemical formulae to regulate the time matrix temperature.

Team prizes were awarded for their chemical skills, teamwork and problem solving abilities. In addition children were given prizes for individual merit. The judging panel consisted of chemical industrialists Sam Whitmarsh and Gordon Plummer from AstraZeneca; and Dr Simon Bedford and Dr Anneke Lubben from the department.

Winning schools this year were: East Bridgwater Community School; St Dunstan's Community School; Millfield Preparatory School; Dumpton School; All Saints CE School; and Hayesfield School Technology College.

The school children were also informed and entertained by a demonstration entitled Whizzes and bangs, which showed how interesting and exciting chemistry can be as a subject for further study.

A talk was also given to teachers to highlight the importance of chemistry within the modern world and career paths that it can lead to, in particular the need to choose the correct GCSEs and A-levels in order to pursue a degree within the chemical sciences.

In addition, the opportunity of placing University Ambassadors from the department within their schools was outlined, as well as highlighting the funding available from the Royal Society of Chemistry to promote science based activities within their schools.

After the festival, Dr Bedford, Chair of Judges, said: “I’ve been involved with this event for three years now, and this has been the best set of festivals so far. The school children were really enjoying getting stuck into the science and they need very little help from us or their teachers. That’s what makes a future scientist, team work and problem solving abilities.”

The Festivals at Bath were sponsored by AstraZeneca Avonmouth and Reading Scientific Services Ltd, additional prizes were paid for by the widening participation initiatives fund.

The Bath events were one of several Salters’ Festivals that took place across the UK. The Salters' Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of The Salters' Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry by making it more relevant and fun to students.

For more information on the festivals and the sponsors, see the Related Links section above.

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